Is Technical Writing a Good Career in India

Most frequently, people opt for technical writing and after a year or two, they express the desire to make a transition into quality assurance or development because they feel that they will be paid better or that they have better prospects in those fields. The youngsters today probably don’t realize that they should choose a profession that they enjoy doing and which gives them satisfaction in terms of work, roles, and responsibilities.

Unfortunately, most of them focus on the remuneration and not at their own interests, flaws, or drawbacks. They don’t realize that if they over come their drawbacks and change their attitude, they can progress well in any chosen field.

Example: A dog held a juicy bone in his jaws as he crossed a bridge over a brook. When he looked down into the water he saw another dog below with a bigger, juicier bone. He jumped into the brook to snatch the bigger bone, letting go his own bone. He quickly learned of course that the bigger bone was just a reflection, and so he ended up with nothing.

Remember, having a job in hand that you enjoy doing is better than any other dream job! You probably feel that some other job is better than this… (it may be), but who knows?

The most frequently asked question is, “Is technical writing as good a career in India as anywhere else?” The only answer to this question is yes. Should we have second thoughts about our own abilities? It is high time we erase such thoughts away from our minds and accept the fact that technical writing in India is as good as anywhere else if not better. If it were not so, it would not have been a booming field. The technical writers in India have been well accepted irrespective of the fact that more than 90% of the writers learn the work on the job, without any prior education in the field.

Those in this field for more than a decade do not have formal training in technical writing. You should be proud of yourself because you are a self-starter. Most of you have built careers in technical writing on your own, the more fortunate ones were trained for the job by the organization. Each one of you probably came from different walks of life (journalists, teachers, engineers, and computer professionals) but the unified dream of being a technical writer has brought us all this far.

Technical writing is very much here to stay. It has been growing slowly, but steadily and firmly since the last decade. As the awareness of having good documentation is increasing, the profession is also growing by leaps and bounds. We are very competent and can do the job well. We should have the interest the right attitude and fine-tune our skills. Having said this, I also like to add that we still have a long way to go in terms of getting the respect we actually need to hold. To gauge the state of technical writing in India at a base level, answer to the following questions sincerely (you may add to this list):

How many people understand the job profile of a technical writer?

  • Have you ever heard any student (school going or college going) say that they want to take up technical writing as a career?
  • How many Indian universities offer degree programs (or atleast part time courses) in the field of technical writing/communication?
  • How many books on technical writing related topics have been published in India by Indian writers?
  • How many Indian publishers are ready to publish books on this subject?
  • How many advertisements for the technical writing jobs appear in the newspapers?
  • Are there any well known journals or magazines devoted to the field of technical writing, just as Femina, Stardust, Digit, and Inside-Outside are known for their respective fields?
  • What percent of the freshers applying for the technical writing positions actually know about technical writing?
  • What is the average gap between the salaries of a programmer and a technical writer?
  • Do organizations have a career path set for the technical writers?
  • Do organizations spend time, effort, and/or money for the professional development of the technical writers working with them?
  • How many organizations voluntarily sponsor STC membership for their employees?
  • How many organizations sponsor their technical writers to attend the STC meetings?
  • More importantly how many organizations (read management) know about the STC?

Changing Career (to and from Technical Writing)

This is an excerpt from my book “Technical Writing” published in 2008.

Changing Careers to Technical Writing

You may currently be be doing something else and want to take up technical writing as your career. In this case, you are not only changing your job, but you career as well. Even though you are unhappy with the current job, the very thought of change is unnerving. If you are making a switch only because of some minor problems you are facing in your current job, you should look for the solutions to the problems. Else, you may have time only to run away from problems.

If you are considering changing careers, you may have some concerns if you are not really aware of the job profile. Any change is scary, and changing careers is even scarier. Once you have decided to move on to technical writing, first start by putting together a perfect resume. You may have to underplay some of your existing talents, experience, and skills and overplay a few others that are specific to this field.

  • Some Concerns

As a person with some work experience (though not related to this field), you may have a few concerns (in a random order):

    • The first concern may probably be whether you would like the work. You may fear that you may not like the job profile, the responsibilities, the work atmosphere, the corporate culture, or the that you might find it boring or not stimulating enough.
    • Another major concern is regarding the salary. Since you enter this field as a newcomer, chances are you might earn less than what you presently earn. On the other hand chances are that you might earn more than your current salary.
    • You may also worry about losing out on benefits that you currently enjoy
  • Still Concerned?

If these issues don’t bother you, it means that you are ready for the change. You can now focus on other factors that will help you to prepare yourself for this change:

    • Understand the concepts of technical writing, the tools used, and other things related to this field so that you can converse logically and intelligently.
    • Take a look at a few manuals to understand how they are written, organized, and formatted.
    • Understand why and how certain things are done (e.g., consistency in the documents)
  • Previous Experience

A commonly asked question is I have x years experience in abcd field. Why do I have to join as a trainee or as a junior writer? Simple! It is because you will be learning the basics of the job just as the others. The same amount of time and effort will have to be dedicated to you for training (the concepts, writing styles, processes, procedures, tools, etc.).

This is even more evident if the work experience you have is in no way related to writing (instructional designing, content writing, etc.). Any previous experience will be valid in terms of the soft skills (team spirit, communication, leadership qualities, etc.) which will help you to get faster promotions if you are a good technical writer. Use the non-related work experience for climbing up the professional ladder, not to be close to the top of the ladder when you enter the profession.

In a senior position, you are expected to make important decisions about the project, which can make or break a project. Relevant experience helps in making the right decision at critical stages of the project. Making wrong decisions, when you consciously think that you are right may cause a critical situation! If you strongly feel that the prior experience is of extreme importance to you, you should probably continue in the same field. If you have decided to change careers and move on from your present field to become a technical writer, then think of yourself as one. This will help you move forward with a clarity of thought.

Changing Careers from Technical Writing

The question is how many people are content being a technical writer? Do they see themselves being technical writers for the rest of their working lives, or do they hope to move into another field or into management category? There are numerous instances where in technical writers with over 10 years experience are still senior writers or team leaders. This does not mean that they are not good at their work.

This happens due to lack of the right opportunity, lack of organizational requirement, or even the organizational policies. These writers don’t mind the designation as very often they are paid well for their skills, knowledge, expertise, and experience. Many of them earn more than what a documentation manager with similar or lesser experience might earn. If you are a motivated individual, you can find a lot of opportunities to grow in the area of technical writing.

Actually, the designation makes no sense here—it is all in the mind. But again, this is a very personal perspective. Before asking what next ask, yourself the following questions?

  • Do you know your responsibilities as a technical writer?
  • Did you identify areas where you wanted to improve?
  • Have you set goals for yourself|long term and short term?
  •  Have you learned from your mistakes?
  • Have you found solutions for all the problems you have faced?
  • Did you gain the respect of people in your team and other teams you work with?
  • Do the others feel that you are a dependable and/or responsible team person?
  • Do the others see you as a valuable member of the team?

If the answer to all these questions is yes, ask yourself why do you feel the need to switch careers or move out of the organization? If you feel that you still have a long way to go, first try to achieve the goals to overcome them and then ask yourself what next?

Becoming a Technical Writer: Chances for Freshers

Though many organizations hire only trained and experienced writers, some also recruit freshers, writers without any experience. This decision usually depends on the project requirements, the policy of the organization, and the time the organization is ready to put in for training.

  • If you are a fresher, the interviewers are usually interested in knowing about your basic skills, attitude, learning potential, seriousness, and aptitude.
  • They may want to ensure that you have the have the skills to match and more importantly, that you really want to be a technical writer.
  • Since they cannot check about the relevant skills and experience, they also concentrate on the attitude of the candidates.

They will prefer candidates who have taken the pains to do a bit of homework and research before coming for the interview. After all, this shows the inherent qualities of the candidates like audience analysis, inquisitiveness, researching, and information gathering, apart from the others. If you are able to display these skills, communicate clearly, and are able to convince the interviewer of your worth and interest, you will get the job regardless of your experience or inexperience.

Why not Recruit Freshers?

There are some reasons for lesser opportunities for freshers who are looking out for making a career in the field of technical writing. Some of the reasons are:

  • Disinterest of the organization:

Some small organizations and some documentation service companies may not be interested in hiring freshers. The writers are probably paid based on the time and effort they put into the project on an hourly basis. So, it is but natural that they may want to do away with training process altogether.

  •  Relatively less vacancies:

The number of technical writing vacancies are less when compared to other areas in the industry like software development, quality testing, web development, and so on. Even in those areas, it is not easy to get freshers who have reasonably good knowledge of the concepts and processes used to perform their tasks well.

  • Difficult to gauge skills:

It is often difficult to gauge the skills and the interests of the freshers. It is easier to map the skills of an experienced writer to the expectations and requirements of the job.

    •  Sometimes a candidate may speak extremely well, but their written language may not be upto the mark (or the other way round).
    • Some candidates state how passionate they are about writing, but have no writing samples to show off their passion (no blogs, no reviews, no articles, nothing at all).
    • A few over smart candidates even declare that they are passionate about writing and cite academic project reports as a result of their passion.

In such cases it becomes difficult to make an appropriate decision. Therefore, many organizations prefer to take experienced candidates.

  • Candidates are not serious:

Most of the engineers and science graduates view technical writing as an opportunity to enter an organization and then move on to other departments if they perform well. They feel it is below their dignity and intelligence to work as a technical writer, which has often made me wonder about my decade-long profession.

  • Unrealistic expectations:

Unfortunately, the focus of the youngsters is towards the remuneration and not towards their own interests, skills, flaws, or drawbacks. They don’t realize that an organization pays the candidates for the skills and experience they have. Many have no appropriate skills, infact no knowledge about technical writing, but expect to be paid on par with the market value of technical writers. But the million dollar question is do you command that market value?

Why Recruit Freshers?

Some organizations prefer recruiting freshers because of the following reasons:

  • Easy to mould/train

New writers can be moulded according to the requirements of the organization. They do not have any preconceived notion about the way certain things work, the tools they have to use, and the work they have to do.

  • Organizational policies

Organizations with smaller teams prefer freshers for the following reasons:

    • To keep their existing writers motivated, as it gives them a chance to mentor and train new writers.
    • They believe in recruiting freshers and training them to do the work they want the writers to do.
    • Reduce cost by taking in freshers.

 Though it might require some training related time and effort, many organizations are ready to indulge.

  • Perform production tasks

Organizations may want to hire people to initially do insignificant looking activities:

    • For maintaining old set of documentation (when the product is not being updated, but being maintained).
    •  Converting the documents to different formats.
    • Incorporating the editorial or review comments so that the senior writers focus on more important tasks.
    • Performing usability test of the documentation.
    • General production checks.

When the writers have proved themselves, they are absorbed as full time writers and are given more responsible activities and projects to work on.

  • Inexperienced experienced writers

After 3-6 months of basic training, some trainee writers feel that they are an experienced lot. They have a lot of expectations in terms of remuneration, responsibilities, and the kind of work they will be handling. A few even feel that since they have about 3 months of experience, they should not be recruited as trainee writers. In such cases, recruiting freshers is a better option—atleast they have lesser attitude and the experience of the two set of writers is almost similar!

  • Job hoppers

Some experienced writers with 4 years experience may have worked in 3-5 organizations. Now, the question the recruiters have in mind is are they good enough? Why have they been switching jobs so often? Is it because of attitude problem or is it because they were not good performers?

Recruiters have neither the time nor the intention to check why the writers have been job hopping. They rather look out for writers who are looking for a long term commitment. So, some organizations are open to taking in inexperienced technical writers who may be more productive after initial training.

How To Become A Technical Writer

How Do I Become A Technical Writer? This is the most frequently asked question, and probably is the most difficult one to answer. The first technical writing job is often hard to get because very often your skills are in demand more than your knowledge. Skill is probably what you lack. You can do certain things to prepare yourself.

Step 1: Gather Information

Try to gather information about the job requirements, skills, processes, etc.

  • Read books on this subject so that you have a good idea about technical writing.
  • Subscribe to online forums and talk to writers who are already in this field.
  • If you feel that you need more preparation, join a technical communication course.

Step 2: Analyze Yourself

Before you start your job search, take some time to check your skills and area of interest. Try to determine the skills you need to acquire to become a technical writer. Analyze yourself, check if you have the skills required for the job, and develop the skills you lack.

Step 3: Create a Writing Sample

Prospective employers often like to see a sample of your technical writing abilities. Creating a sample of your work is not easy if you have not done any documentation project. Try to find a short, badly written manual and rewrite it. Then have both, the original and the rewritten manuals as the proof of your writing and editing abilities. This will also show your interest in this field. Don’t try to fool the interviewers by showing them someone else’s work.

Step 4: Learn Tools

Familiarize yourselves with atleast one word processing or desktop publishing tool. Some employers prefer writers who already know atleast one such application because they feel:

  • That such writers would be more productive.
  • That familiarity with tools is an indicator of the candidates interest in this field.
  • That it saves time and money that goes into training the candidates.

It is really not essential to learn any desktop publishing tool, but knowing something (specially when you are new to the field) does not hurt. It only increases your chance in your job hunt.

Step 5: Create an Error-Free Resume

Create an error-free and impressive resume keeping in mind the requirements of the organization that has advertised for the position. Emphasize your skills (technical, writing, tools, etc.). If you know a software package or if you have a scientific background, give the necessary details in the resume. Also highlight your personal skills!

Step 6: Network

The best way to find a job as a technical writer is through networking.

  • Subscribe to mailing lists as this will not only give you access to information, but also will give you an idea about the organizations that hire writers.
  • Attend meetings or conferences and interact with the writers.
  • Actively participate in discussions (in regional meetings and online forums) and make your presence felt. If you manage to do that, the seniors writers may recommend you for an interview when there is a vacancy in their organization.

As a fresher in this field you are not expected to know everything about the tools and the process. Be confident, speak well, ask intelligent questions, be organized in your thought, answer truthfully and lady luck will surely be with you. If you have decided to pursue technical writing, find out what else it takes, and march ahead with determination.

Persistence, determination, and commitment will make you a winner. This is a general rule that applies to everyone in every walk of life.

Becoming a Technical Writer: Look Before You Leap

 One of the reasons for becoming a technical writer is because you like writing and, of course, you are good at it. Unfortunately, many people come into this field, not because they are interested in technology or in writing, but because:

  • They hear it pays reasonable well.
  • They have heard about the demand for this special breed of people.
  • They are ready to take up any job. When they don’t get their dream job, they are ready to take up anything—they just want to settle in for any job for the time being.
  • They probably want to work for a year or two before going for higher studies.

There are many others who feel that they are doing a favor to the employers by agreeing to become a technical writer. Their attitude is, “I don’t mind becoming a technical writer if I am given Rs. XYZ per annum.” These are not the reasons to become a technical writer. First and foremost try to identify if this is the right profession for you. Money is important, but in this field, interest in the job and writing abilities are extremely crucial.

This can make or break your career. Darwin’s Theory of the survival of the fittest applies to this scenario as well. Among all the others, only the good writers, with genuine interest in the field will survive and progress further. The others will get stagnated, bored, and will be disillusioned by their choice! Having said this, I would also like to add that not many of the existing writers have come into this profession out of choice.

I personally know some writers who wanted to make a career in software development or testing. They did not get an appropriate opportunity and hence, they joined as technical writers, have discovered what it is, and have decided that they are content and happy with their profession. But this is a very rare situation and depends on the personal attitude and the basic interest (like reading and writing) of the person. So before you make a rushed decision, sit back and think.

Interview Yourself

“If your goal is to write a novel, this is not the job. Although the finished product of your job is something you wrote, there’s a lot of collaboration. You’re interviewing people. You are coordinating. Twenty to thirty percent of your time is real writing activity.”

—Saul Carliner, a former president of the STC

Take a couple of minutes to answer the following questions truthfully:

    • Do you have to restrain yourself from being a friendly editor to a colleague?
    • Did you, as a child (and still), have a special fascination for words and word
      games like crossword and/or scrabble?
    • Do you constantly find the slightest error in spelling or grammar when you read magazines, newspapers, or any article?
    • Are you a voracious reader?
    • Do you discuss books with friends?
    •  Do you like to write—about anything and about everything?
    • Do you read a manual (or some instruction) and often think how it could be improved?

If you have answered yes to all these questions (even to half of them) without a second thought, you are already well on the path to becoming a technical writer, you just need a little push in that direction.

Analyze Yourself

You should always choose a profession that you enjoy doing and which gives you satisfaction in-terms of work, responsibility, and rewards. Before you start your job search, take some time to check your skills and area of interest. Then, determine what skills you need to acquire in order to be where you want to be. Let’s consider a few cases:

  • Case 1: A person who has a good command over the language (English). The person has absolutely no ability to understand the technology and present it in an organized manner.

This person would make a poor technical writer. But, if the writer puts in some effort in improving the organization skills and in understanding the technology, the person can become a reasonably good technical writer.

  • Case2: A person who has the ability to grasp and understand the technology (with or without technical background), but has extremely poor language skills.

This person cannot become a technical writer.

  • Case 3: A person without any technical background, but with the ability to quickly grasp the information, and good command over the language.

This person can become an excellent technical writer.

  • Case 4: A person having the ability to grasp the technical information and a good command over the language. But the person has no logical thinking capacity or clarity of thought.

This person can become a good writer after some refined training.

Check in which category you fall into. If you have a good command over the language, are an organized worker, have an inclination towards technology, and can make people talk to you, this is the job for you. You should have a cocktail of the right skills to become a successful technical writer.

Technical Writing: Is It the Right Job?

Most of the applications that come in for the job of the technical writer are from the candidates who do not have even a vague idea of what it is about. During the interviews, they give certain standard but useless answers:

  • This organization will give me an opportunity to grow.” OR
  • I want to be a part of this esteemed organization.” OR
  • I am very interested in writing, I have written the project reports at college.”

The rant is on without actually knowing what the esteemed organization does. This happens because they are desperate for a job and don’t want to wait for the right job or career option. So they apply to any opportunity that comes their way. For example, engineering graduates may apply for a technical writing job only because the education qualification in the advertisement mentions the word engineering. They don’t care anything beyond that (job requirement, skill set, job description). Hence, after a few months, they realize that it is not what they want to do.

People have different perceptions about technical writing, based on their understanding of the job profile. This is probably better than not knowing what it is about. People with some knowledge about technical writing can be grouped into the following categories:

  • Those who have heard of technical writing, but have a distorted or unclear ideas and/or opinions about it.
  • Those who know about the concepts of technical writing, but look down upon it to take it up as a career.
  • Those who have a generic idea of what technical writing is, but are unsure or confused about it as a career prospective.
  • Those who do not know much about technical writing, but are ready to try it out for the time being because they have heard that it pays well.
  • Those who have a reasonably good idea about technical writing and opt it as a prospective career.

The purpose of this article is to help you decide if this is the right job for you and give you the right direction in becoming one. I have often said that I did not know about technical writing before I entered this field. But, when I look back, I realize that unknowingly, I have used this form of writing when creating project reports during my schooling and engineering days. We had to research, gather information, understand the subject/technology, and document the technology in a way that could be understood by the people reading it.

A good technical writer plays a significant and important role in the organization just as a good developer does. Just as an engineer is hired to design graphics, create/develop the product, perform quality assurance, etc., you are hired to create documentation. So you have a specific duty to perform. Whether you agree or not, technical writing is a rewarding career. Apart from writing about technology, it is also a process of discovery of:

  • Unknown subjects—technology, tool, product—anything that is new to you.
  • New tools and software used for documentation and image editing.
  • Unknown problems and situations (which happens very often).
  • Very simple solutions to the problems that seem unsolvable.
  • Your untapped potentials

In this process of learning and solving problems, you also get acquainted with a part of yourself which you were not aware about. For example, you realize that you are good at trouble-shooting or that you stay calm and work effectively during tight and stressful deadlines.

Job Hopping (in Technical Writing): A Concern

One of the major concerns of today, not restricted to the technical writing community, is job hopping. It does not give a good picture to the remote/parent companies who have set up documentation (or other teams) in India. On an average, it takes a writer atleast an year to get adjusted in an organization, to understand the basic documentation specific requirements of the organization (guidelines, tools, styles, process, etc), and understand the products.

By the time the writers understand the work process, procedure, and start performing on their own, they feel that it is time to move on! This attitude of the employees is very weird, immature, and annoying. Most of the time the reasons cited by the writers for skipping and hopping out of the companies are:

  • Want to write new documents
  • Not a challenging job
  • Designation
  • Promotion
  • Better salary
  • Other reasons
  1. Want to Write New Documents

When the writers cite the reason as wanting to write new documents, the managers are tempted to say, \But you can’t even update an existing document properly, how do you think you can create a new one? By the time the write is capable of taking such responsibilities, and the manager or the team leader plans to allocate responsible projects, the writers decide to leave.

In Reality

All the writers, however experienced they are, have their share of work in updatingdocumentation. Writers get newer documents to write only if new products are launchedby the organization or when the existing product changes drastically. The writers whoare interested in writing only about new products, should either work as freelancers orjoin a documentation company because in both the cases, they get to work with differentclients on varied projects and subjects.

  1. Not a Challenging Job

Many writers complain that they don’t get challenging work to do. Ask them what they want to do and you will realize that most of them don’t even know that they mean by the term challenging or what type of challenging work they want to work on.

In Reality

There are so many tasks that the writers do to make the job interesting and challenging. No one will hand challenging work on a golden platter. First and foremost the technical writers should analyze themselves:

    1. Rate themselves as writers.
      1. Check if they have shown interest in doing challenging or responsible kind ofwork.
      2. Check if they are capable of doing the tasks they are interested in.
      3. Check what they have done to make the work challenging
    2. They have to check if they have tried to do the following:
      1. Gather customer feedback to understand if the documentation is useful tothem.
      2. Improvise the existing documentation by performing usability testing?
      3. Perform GUI reviews and give inputs to the development team?
      4. Work with the marketing, sales, marketing, or human resource in creatingbrochures, internal newsletter, etc.
      5. Have they remotely tried to do any of these? If not, what challenge are they looking for?
  1. Designation

You will find writers with one or two years experience wanting to have the designation of senior writers. I have come across varied expectations of the writers. Some make sense while some are just plain ridiculous. A writer with just five months into this field (and no formal training in technical communication) was reluctant to join as a trainee because according to her, she had 5 months experience. I could not figure out how that experience which was tool focused would help her perform the activities in my team. Also, she was on look out for a “better job” with “more responsibilities”, and a “better salary” in 5 months time after joining an organization. I recruited a fresher instead.

A proof reader with barely three years experience wanted a managerial position because according to him, he was already leading team though his designation was “proof reader”. He had absolutely no idea about the tools used or the documentation development life cycle (DDLC), and the basic concept of technical writing. All he knew were the terms technical review and proofreading. According to him, proofreading was an authoritative job profile because he had to sign off the documentation effort. So he felt that he was actually leading the team of writers though in reality he was not.

In Reality

The IT companies should ensure that there is a certain level of consistency in designations. Human resources managers should ensure that a given designation should not loose its value. It should be tied to appropriate skills, experience, and responsibilities. It is rediculous to offer the designation of Senior Writer after one year expereince or that of a Team Leader after two years experience.

  1.  Promotion

Kissa kursi ka has been an age old story. There has been a fascination and temptation for the mighty chair right from the time of Alexander the Great till date. In the work scenario, it is in the form of promotions. A writer with two years experience want to become a senior writer. Those with 3-4 years experience want to be the team lead. There may be one in thousands who have the capability to take up the responsibilities and have such fast promotions, but that does not mean that all can.

If the question is, “If XYZ can become a team leader, why can’t I? The answer should be short, yet loud and clear, “XYZ has displayed the skills, expertise, and qualities required for a team leader.”

In Reality

After 2-3 years experience, writers move out in search of better pastures, wanting betterhike in salary and a bigger designation. Their two years of experience actually has more value in their current organization because they already know the product and now, they are in a position to take up more responsibilities.

After 4-5 years, in an organization, they would have mastered most of the requirements of the trade, taken up responsible tasks, and handled tricky projects. Moving out for better pastures at that stage may make sense.

  1. Better Salary

If you spend time with people who are ready to hop out and talk to them, you will find that most of the reasons they give are usually not valid. They leave because they probably get a significant raise in salary in the other organization. During the interviews, many writers demand a huge sum because according to them, that is the market value of a writer. Salary seems to be the major fixation for 80% of the writers, specially those who get into the field for the heck of it.

In Reality

The market  figure could be true, but the writers should also take a stock of themselves.They have to figure out if they are good writers capable of writing a few pages that donot require an edit, or are they solely depending on the number years of experience and the tool knowledge to demand their worth. Their worth and expectations should matchwith the actual skill sets expected from a writer of their experience.

  1. Other Reasons

Some of the valid reasons why employees may want to move on are:

    • Mismatch between personal ambitions and company’s mission (or vision). This can be avoided to a certain extent if the screening and selection process is good enough. The candidates hired for a particular project /assignment has to be informaed about the exact responsibilities they will be handling.
    • Lack of motivation—the company is not able to identify and utilize the strengths of the candidate (or vice versa).
    • Lack of opportunities—learning, training, growth, responsibilities, etc.
    • Lack of clarity in terms of future plans, growth, and ambitions.
    • Organizational culture.

Recommendation

These are something you can do to overcome the job hopping related problems.

  • Hire freshers: From a business point of view, unless and until it is absolutely necessary, is it better to hire freshers, train them, and mould them to your needs. It is better than recruiting technical writers with 6 months to 2 years of experience who demand 40-60% hike on their current CTC (cost to company). About 80% of such writers are not even worth to be paid half of what they demand.
  • Weed out non writers: During the interview stage filter out non-writers. Many a times the applicants are those who have failed to get into the world of programming and development. They view technical writing as an easy entry into the organization or land up with a job till they get what they are looking for.
  • Money is not everything: We all work for money. Don’t say that you don’t,  but there are other things apart from money that should be the primary focus. Ensure that you hire writers who display professional behavior and work ethics. Else, Indian technical communicators will loose reliability and chances are that the organizations that are ready to invest in India may not be ready to do so in the near future.
  • Look for the right attitude: Candidates should be made to understand that they should have the right skills, attitude, passion, and productivity at work. Money will follow. They are compensated for doing quality work and delivering the project on time in terms of salary. How well they do it and the other responsibilities they take up become the deciding factor for their appraisal.
  • Consistent designation: The IT companies should ensure that the designations are consistent. Certain aspects like work profile, level of experience, responsibilities, skills, and maturity, should be attached to each designation. By giving a designation of team leader to a person with 2-3 years experience, we are responsible for raising their expectations.
  • Hire the right person: Hiring managers should be aware that filling up a position is important, but getting the right person with the right skills for the right renumeration is equally important. We all know that the biggest enemy of any hiring manager is another hiring manager who is ready to offer a bigger pay packet, higher position, or more perks to a candidate. What the second hiring manager may not try to check, is if the candidate is really worthy of it.

If a candidate is performing well, has a good job profile, and is happy with work, there should be a genuine reason for leaving that organization. If the matter is only about salary, it is understandable. But the hiring managers should also check if they can provide a similar working condition, work, and/or responsibilities to the candidate. Usually after the honeymoon period, when the reality of the work and working conditions sink in, the salary spirit wears off.